Development

New apartments are coming in old Garment District warehouse

Updated: 2014-02-06T05:27:06Z

By KEVIN COLLISON

The Kansas City Star

A 110-year-old warehouse in Kansas City’s downtown Garment District is reopening as a loft-style apartment project featuring a light sculpture cascading the depth of its eight-story atrium.

The former Burnham-Hanna-Munger Manufacturing Co. building at 323 W. Eighth St. has been transformed into what’s being called Lucas Place Lofts. The first residents of the 130-unit building are expected to begin moving in March 1.

Its New York designers have retained the heavy wood timbers and industrial-style windows of the massive eight-story brick building and added a few contemporary flourishes. Its original use was as a warehouse for jobbers who specialized in wholesale trade and selling to retailers throughout the Great Plains.

“Aesthetically, it’s terrific,” said Jay Landesman, a partner at LandWhite Developers LLC, the Indiana and New York firm behind the $30 million redevelopment. “The atrium is very unusual.”

The spacious core of the building rises from the basement to the sky-lit ceiling, surrounded by balconies on each floor.

To take advantage of that grand space, two New York designers, Lana Lenar of zeroLUX and Charles Pavarin III of Design Associates, collaborated on a suspended sculpture that consists of 60 LED tubes that appear to be sticks of light floating down the depth of the atrium.

“It’s a very unusual building to work on because of its history and the structure,” Pavarin said. “We tried to keep the integrity of the structure and update it to today’s apartment requirements.”

The building was designed by George Mathews in the Second Renaissance Revival style and was completed in 1904. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It’s one of five dozen buildings in the roughly 10-square-block historic Garment District.

The last tenant was Populous, formerly HOK Sport, which left for new quarters in 2005. LandWhite bought the building in 2011 and was approved by the city for a 20-year property tax abatement, but its redevelopment plan was delayed by difficulties arranging financing and parking.

The developers eventually obtained a long-term lease from DST Realty for 185 parking spaces nearby, which in addition to a lot adjoining the building brought the total number of spaces to 213.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development insured the loan for the project. Commerce Bank purchased the state historic tax credits, and Chevron USA bought the federal historic credits.

Because of the unique layout of the building, some of the apartments have ceilings as tall as 16 feet. All have wood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and washer-dryer units.

Large windows provide natural light and views of the ornate, early 20th-century brick buildings of the Garment District. On the east side of the building, new windows were cut from the facade.

The apartments will rent for $1.24 per square foot. The original plan called for it to be renovated into 81 one-bedroom and 49 two-bedroom units ranging from 700 to 1,054 square feet.

Community amenities include a fitness center on the basement level, a private theater space with a 70-inch flat-screen television, individual storage bays, bicycle racks and a community room with a full kitchen for entertaining and events.

The ground floor along Eighth Street includes 7,500 square feet of retail space.

David Roos, chief operating officer at LandWhite, said the firm is redeveloping a similar building in St. Louis and is looking for additional historic renovation projects in Kansas City.

To reach Kevin Collison, call 816-234-4289 or send email to kcollison@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at kckansascity.

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